This was a concert rare in its delightful excellence, and consequently a hard act to follow, and neither ACME nor yMusic could quite manage to do it. These groups are part of the generation after So Percussion, young New Yorkers who merge in various combinations — three of the performers were in both ensembles, including the violist Nadia Sirota, a somewhat ubiquitous figure on New York’s contemporary scene these days. They’re ambitious and full of ideas, but — particularly after the crackling precision of So Percussion — they seemed a little callow, and their presentation fell back on the dutiful “Here’s a piece by X, and now here’s a piece by Y.”
ACME (the American Contemporary Music Ensemble) was represented by five performers and some not-very-strong music; the pieces might have benefited from better playing, and the players might have risen to the occasion with better pieces, but the combination was unsuccessful. Caleb Burhans, a talented composer who’s proficient on several instruments, was not quite proficient enough on violin to animate either Don Byron’s “Spin” (played with Timothy Andres) or John Cage’s String Quartet in Four Parts — a slow and spare piece that can be quite beautiful but that here seemed dreary. The last piece, a string trio by Mick Barr called “ACMED,” offered fast playing to counterbalance the slow, but it didn’t have a lot of content, either.